WASHINGTON -- In what he described as an effort to promote civility, Sen. Bob Dole yesterday called for a "declaration of tolerance" in the Republican Party platform on abortion and other issues that threaten to split the GOP at its August convention and in the fall campaign.
Dole, who has consistently voted against abortion in his more than three decades in Congress, said he would keep the anti-abortion language that appeared in the party's 1992 platform.
But he said he would add a clause like that espoused by Ronald Reagan in 1980, acknowledging that Republicans "recognize different views" on abortion "among Americans in general -- and in our own party."
Dole added that while the anti-abortion wording of the party platform was important, "I will not silence those who disagree."
He said the Democrats, whose party platform supports abortion rights, had made a grave error in excluding anti-abortion voices, particularly that of Robert P. Casey, former governor of Pennsylvania, from their 1992 convention.
"We Republicans must avoid the bitterness and intolerance of the Democratic Party that leads them to silence those who oppose their hard-line views," Dole said. "Our convention must reflect not only our strong pro-life convictions but a decent PTC regard for the opinions of those who disagree. This is not compromise, it is civility."
The senator's statement was issued by his campaign headquarters after an interview with representatives of ABC News and its affiliate stations.
Dole was seeking to avert trouble at the San Diego convention, from both the hard-line foes of abortion, such as Patrick J. Buchanan, and Republicans who support abortion rights, such as Govs. George E. Pataki of New York, Christine Todd Whitman of New Jersey and William Weld of Massachusetts.
Carol Long, political action director for the National Right to Life Committee, said:
"Senator Dole made reference to talking about how people have different points of view in the party, and we have no problem with that. It does have to be very clear that the diversity of views refers to every thing in the platform, not just abortion."
Pub Date: 6/07/96